Thu October 3, 2013
inTune Station Blog

From The Desk Of President Neil Best: Of Budgets And Service

Recently the board of directors at NPR announced the fiscal 2014 budget includes an operating cash deficit of $6.1 million, or 3 percent of revenues. At the same time the board offered a strategic roadmap to achieve a balanced budget over the course of the next two years.

Part of the budget woes story at NPR can be traced to shortfalls in underwriting support at the national level, beginning with the recession in 2008. The network has suffered from missing projections.

The challenge of keeping pace with news events around the world has also strained the network’s resources. Thinking back over the last couple of years, there have been a series of unexpected events that you and I expect NPR to cover. Stories such as the Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Sandy, the extended Republican primary race in 2012, and the nuclear plant meltdown in Japan to cite just a few examples that exceeded anticipated budgets.

A number of you have asked me what this means for KUNC in the year ahead. My answer is the proposed plan from NPR should not drastically impact what you and I hear on KUNC from NPR on a day to day basis.

The plan outlined by the board of directors calls for a 10 percent staff reduction. That is roughly 80 employees out of the more than 800 employees who work at NPR. The proposal calls for the cuts to come about through voluntary staff buyouts. As outlined, the network retains the right to withdraw individual offers if too many employees from any one area accept the buyout.

Certainly everyone will work to protect the most prized programs that we all depend upon: Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Weekend All Things Considered. It is important to remember many of our favorite shows are distributed by NPR, but are outside of the NPR budget. Programs like Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and World Café.

Many of KUNC’s programs come from two other networks, American Public Media, and Public Radio International and are not affected by the budget issues at NPR.

The follow up question has been if NPR is facing problems, how about KUNC?

Here there is very good news. Our base of support from the community remains strong and KUNC just completed the fiscal year in very good shape.

During this past year we began two partnerships, extending the breadth and scope of our reporting to you. In February we became part of the Harvest Public Media network and brought Luke Runyon on board to cover agribusiness. In April we began a partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS to create Arts District. Carrie Saldo now reports on arts and cultural issues for both RMPBS and KUNC.

We've also launched KUNC Music 24/7, an around the clock music service from KUNC.

I would invite you to “stay tuned” for further announcements of expanded service from KUNC. As always I welcome the opportunity to visit with you to answer questions, hear your thoughts, and share conversation.

Warm Regards,

President & CEO

PS: Your thoughts and comments are always welcome below... or you can reach out directly at neil.best@kunc.org, @neil_best, or 970.350.0806